The Reader

My poem “The Reader” can be seen as a sequel to the “Early Reader” poem that featured in my previous post.  It is a vision of what could happen to the “early reader” in later life, if he continues his excessive, obsessive reading to the extent that he excludes everything else from his life.  I must stress that this situation could only come about if the individual concerned was a particularly negative, passive character with an indolent, lethargic disposition.  The poem is not meant to be an attack on reading itself, which I see as fundamentally a wonderful, life-enhancing activity.

The Reader:

I am a reader.  I live alone.
No close friends impinge;
I rarely use a ‘phone.
Solitary existence; I don’t have a wife.
Only characters, in books;
I live a vicarious life.

Vicarious dangers, vicarious risks,
vicarious relationships, vicarious trips.
It’s much safer, this way;
no major hazards, or strife.
They don’t come into play;
I live a vicarious life.

Something went wrong, you see.
I cannot tell a lie.
Something went wrong, with me;
I don’t know when, or why.
Friends plunged into life, pell-mell,
where risks and dilemmas are rife.
I just retreated, into my shell;
I live a vicarious life.

And yet I’m happy, in my way;
strange though it may seem.
For my life changes, every day,
in reveries, thoughts and dreams.
Others embrace a life of chance;
fortunes on the edge of a knife.
I must decline the offer to dance;
I live a vicarious life.


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